Car thefts in Australia are at their lowest rate in the current five-year cycle.
The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council released its updated quarterly report into car thefts in Australia, which found the rate of theft has steadily dropped since the most recent high in its five-year cycle, where the current high is 52,800 stolen vehicles back in 2008/9.
Compare The Market has a great breakdown of all the stats to the end of 2013:
That’s a rate of 2.69 vehicles for every 1000 registered, well down from 3.16 the previous year. Even at its lowest levels for some time, it costs Australians more than half a billion each year.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the popularity of the Holden Commodore among thieves – there were 3798 stolen last year compared with 1391 Falcons.
It’s a trend that stretches from one end of the country to the next, with a couple of notable exceptions. Here’s the breakdown:
The standouts are the Northern Territory, where thieves plump for the ultra-reliable 1985 Toyota Landcruiser 70 Series (32 stolen); Canberra, where the sensibly unremarkable 1994 Hyundai Excel (19, down from 67) provides a good scrap price; and Tasmanian thieves who like the 1995 Nissan Pulsar N15 (43 stolen), presumably because if you put your foot down in an SS Commodore you’ll end up in the ocean.
For the other states, the honours are split between the 1997 Commodore VT (Vic, NSW, SA) and the 2006 Commodore VE (Qld, WA).
Executive director of NMVTRC, Ray Carroll, says the prevalence of Holden Commodores over Ford Falcons, despite their relatively even market share, comes down to three things, but for the most part, it’s hoonability.
“One, there’s heaps of Commodores,” Carroll said. “As soon as you see a lot in the volume sold, you’re going to see that in what’s stolen.”
“The second part is there’s a strong secondhand market and parts market for Commodores.
“But the third part is every young bloke who wears a baseball cap on his head backwards wants to own a Commodore. They’re popular with hoons who know they can thrash them better than a Hyundai Excel.”
Carroll said the other major difference between Commodores and Falcons in the eyes of thieves is at the high-performance end. A lot more HSV Commodores are (or were) sold than FPV Falcons.
“You can steal an HSV and turn a basic Commodore into an HSV with the parts.
“Having an ordinary Commodore in which to do it provides you with a clean VIN number.”
Tasmania’s Pulsar fixation is a bit of a mystery, but in the ACT, early 90s Hyundais have been creeping up the list for one reason:
“You can start them with a lollipop stick,” Carroll says.